McLean County hospitals near capacity for ICU and total beds

Local News

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) – Hospital and ICU beds nearing capacity in the Twin Cities as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

In June, the McLean County Health Department says the county saw about 7 COVID-19 cases per day on average.

Over the last two months, officials say the picture has looked a lot different.

“In July our numbers had quadrupled, we were averaging about 30 cases a day in McLean County and by August we had almost 50 cases per day,” said Marianne Manko, public affairs coordinator for McLean County Health Department.

As of Thursday afternoon, the health department says 92 percent of ICU beds in the county are in use and 95 percent of total beds.

Leaders at OSF St. Joseph say bed availability isn’t significantly lower than normal, citing patients with other illnesses or conditions, but the pandemic does pose additional challenges.

“Today we have about 15 percent of our inpatient with COVID and so that’s 15 percent of your beds are now filled with something that didn’t exist a year and a half ago,” said Lynn Fulton, president of OSF St. Joseph Medical Center.

Fulton says recent COVID-19 trends put stress not only on hospitals themselves, but also the staff.

“As they see that spike go up again, it’s kind of that feeling of oh, again?” Fulton said.

Of those in the hospital with COVID-19, the vice president of operations at Carle Bromenn Medical Center says there’s a clear trend.

“About 80 percent of the patients that are admitted into the ICU have not been vaccinated,” said Tim Bassett, vice president of operations at Carle Bromenn Medical Center.

Bassett said hospitals may be able to provide care now, but that may not always be the case later on if the strain on medical systems continues.

“At any given time that could change rapidly to the point where the health system could fail, and we’re seeing that across the United States and southern portions of Illinois,” Bassett said.

He explains by getting vaccinated, the community can help hospitals in a big way.

“Preserve that precious capacity and get vaccinated if you have not elected to already,” Bassett said.

Lynn said preventative care and elective procedures have not yet been impacted by the COVID-19 surge, but she says that could change if trends do not get better.

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